Posted July 11, 2012 by sourced
By Peter Pfitzinger | DistanceCoach.com
The running mentality lends itself to extremes. But the motto “Anything worth doing is worth doing to excess,” ultimately leads to disaster. To fulfill your potential as a runner, you either need a seasoned coach who can prescribe and monitor your training, or to learn to design your own well-balanced training programs.
In structuring your training program, you should abide by the following five principles:
1. Your body adapts specifically to the stresses of training.
2. Physiological adaptations take time.
3. Your body can only adapt positively to moderate increases in training load.
4. Alternate hard training days with recovery.
5. You are an experiment of one.
Specificity of training
To reach your potential as a distance runner, you need to develop a variety of key attributes, including your endurance base, lactate threshold, maximal aerobic capacity (VO2 max), basic speed, and running technique. During your marathon training, you likely focussed only on improving your endurance base, while virtually ignoring the other necessary ingredients for success. That was the appropriate strategy, given a specific goal (finishing the marathon) and a limited time-frame. Your body adapts specifically, however, to the types of training that you do, so when you were putting in your long runs you were doing little to improve your VO2 max, speed, or running technique. To maximize your running performance, you need to incorporate each of these components into your training program in the right balance for you.
Physiological adaptations take time
Your body adapts to the stresses of training, but this process takes time. Physiological adaptations occur in their own time, and while you can fine-tune your training to optimize the process, you cannot rush Mother Nature. Adaptations in your muscles, such as increased capillarization, occur gradually over months and years. Although you may have gotten away with quickly scaling up your training to complete a marathon, now you need to think longer term. Be patient. The minimum amount of time to begin to see an improvement from training is about 6 weeks. Do not be discouraged if you do not notice immediate improvements in your running.
Read more basic training principles for running.
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